Christmas absolutely has to be my favourite time of the year for make-up – it’s literally a case of Christmas come early when all my favourite cosmetics brands release their gorgeous holiday collections and festive gift sets in early December. Forget buying prezzies for others… I always want to keep these babies all to myself!
Holiday collections are when all the fun stuff comes out to play – special sparkly colours, gorgeous limited-edition packaging and, most importantly, amazing value for money in the multi-product gift sets. So here’s my ten-stop guide to the beauty counters this Christmas – feel free to print out and leave in obvious locations for gift-buyers to find!
Benefit Full list of stores here
Benefit has to be one of Sassy’s favourite beauty brands and they always come up trumps come Christmas. I love their Ticket To Glossytown set ($280) of six fab lipglosses, all in juicy colours with luscious non-sticky finishes, and a super-cute cityscape silhouette on each tube. I’m Glam… Therefore I Am ($390) is a fantastic value box set that includes minis of some of Benefit’s best-sellers – Girl Meets Pearl (a dewy luminous primer), BADgal lash mascara and Ultra Shines lip gloss – plus a gorgeous pretty-in-pink face powder and brush, and four shimmering eye colours too. Basically, everything you need in one box! How could we resist?!
Becca Full list of counters here
Oh dear… looks like someone told Becca about my weakness for all things purple. Their Balearic Love Smoky Eyes Kit ($750) contains everything you need to create the ultimate smouldering smoky eye – just in time for party season! It contains a Romanticism Eye Tint (a soft mauve bronze), Cabera Line & Define Pencil (a double-ended eyeliner in deep violet and metallic bronze), Becca’s signature The Ultimate Mascara (great for a natural fluttery curl that works well for sensitive eyes) and an anti-bacterial sharpener (well, we all need essentials, right?!).
Bliss Spa Available at W Hotel or counters at Lane Crawford Pacific Place or FACES (Tsim Sha Tsui)
Make sure your skin isn’t neglected in the wintry weather with Bliss Spa’s contributions towards a ‘Merry Blissmas’! Our hands are already beginning to suffer from the sudden cold snap, so keep them super-moisturised with the Two Turtle Gloves set (above $580), which includes a tube of high-intensity hand cream and a pair of gel-lined glamour gloves (these are seriously amazing – go to bed in them and your hands will be as soft as baby’s… if not softer!). We also love Seasons Sweet-ings ($550), a bathing bundle of delectable festive vanilla and bergamot products (plus a cute Bliss rubber duckie!)… and we can’t not mention the great-value Glow Ho Ho set ($880), your route to rapid-fire radiance thanks to their amazing Triple Oxygen trio (which we reviewed in full here). Did we mention they have the best puns too?!
Shu Uemura Full list of locations here
Shu Uemura’s Wong Kar Wei Collection must be one of the most eye-catching cosmetics collections in ages – quite literally, as the best products are all about the eyes! The Burning In Water and Drowning In Flame Eye & Cheek Palettes ($495) are nothing short of sensational, right down to the holographic ‘moving’ eyes and lips on the casing. The former is a beautifully cool mix of shimmery blues and silver sparkles, the latter a warmer blend of purple and pink shades. Shu Uemura are probably most famous for their false eyelashes and these Dance In Glitter Fake Eyelashes (above $580) have to be some of the most stunning I’ve seen yet – your eyes will practically dance in glitter!
Lush Full list of stores here
The best thing about Lush? They do all the wrapping for you! All their Christmas gift sets are immaculately packaged in gorgeously gift-wrapped boxes or colourful re-usable tins… and we’ve not even got started on all the goodies stuffed to bursting within! My top pick is their Northern Lights set ($799), which features twelve fabulous Lush products – including their fruity festive favourite Angels Delight soap, an Australian Igloo sugar and coconut scrub to buff your body to its best, the cinnamon and spice-infused warming Glogg shower gel and the champagne-flavoured moisturising lip tint, Celebrate (topped off with a gold sprinkle of popping candy!). If you’re a real girly girl, look no further than the sparkly sweet and very very pink Stardust gift set ($449), including a Snow Fairy shower gel, cotton-candy scented Magic Wand bubble bar and Bubblegum lip scrub, for turning your parched lips into super-soft smackers – just in time for any impending mistletoe moments!
Bobbi Brown Full list of locations here
Bobbi Brown’s palettes are always winners and boast lots of easily-wearable colours, party season or otherwise! The biggest hit from their holiday range has to be the Ultimate Party Collection (above $620), a double-decker compact featuring eight shimmering eye shadows and four flirty lip glosses, plus two mini lip and eye shadow brushes (note: not nasty cheap sponge-tip applicators!), so it’s ideal for creating entire make-up looks on-the-go. Christmas is also a fantastic time to get your mitts on great make-up brush sets; spoil yourself (or get someone to spoil you – even better!) with Bobbi’s Deluxe Travel Brush Set ($920), which includes nine different super-soft brushes for every aspect of your make-up, all housed in a gorgeous silver compact.
Clinique Full list of stores here
One of my favourite new products of 2011 has to be Clinique’s Chubby Sticks, which boast the moisturising texture of a lip balm with the soft colour of a lipstick, all in one convenient and easy-to-use chunky cute pencil. Their Christmas Chubby Stick Candy set (above $320) comes in a nifty silver bag and includes four delicious colours – Super Strawberry, Whole Lotta Honey, Woppin’ Watermelon and Mega Melon – a hue to go with every outfit! I also really want to try their new Repairwear Laser Focus Wrinkle & Photo Damage Corrector, which claims to make light work of dark spots and pigmentation, which is included in their Anti-Wrinkle set ($760). It also comes with a Moisture Surge face spray and intensely-moisturising Repairwear day, night and eye creams, ideal for nourishing your dry skin in the winter weather.
Nars Available at Langham Place (Mong Kok), Lane Crawford Times Square, ifc mall & Pacific Place
Nars’ Modern Kabuki Holiday Collection offers something a little bit different – not just your usual splurge of festive bling, but instead a striking set of Japanese-inspired products housed in classy red-and-black packaging. Our top picks are the Mie Kabuki Mini Soft Touch Shadow Pencil Set ($550), six stunning creamy colour-intense chubby eye shadow pencils (the electric turquoise and rich plum are our favourites) and the Hanamichi Eyeshadow Palette (above $650), which can also multi-task as a blusher, highlighter and eye-liner too… that’s if you dare mess up the divine floral design!
Crabtree & Evelyn Full list of stores here
Seen the crazy Christmas queues at Crabtree & Evelyn (they’re practically as much a part of HK Christmas as Santa himself)? Well, these might have something to do with it! The Hello Kitty x Crabtree & Evelyn Christmas sets ($495) of bath & shower gel, body lotion, hand therapy, hand remedy and hand recovery creams are not only super-luxurious but fantastic value to boot. However, the best bit is the Hello Kitty tote bags these come in – absolutely adorable, wipe-clean washable and with loads of spacious zip compartments, making them ideal toiletry bags for travelling – almost worth the price of the set alone! And if you are willing to brave those queues, it must be said Crabtree & Evelyn do have some fantastic special discount offers!
Guerlain Full list of counters here
We’ve got your eyes, lips, body and hands Christmas-ready – but how about giving your face a ravishing radiant flush too? Guerlain’s Belle de Nuit Holiday Collection is almost too pretty to use; their Parure de Nuit Pressed Powder & Blush ($480) has a beautiful peacock feather design that’s almost as pretty as the soft coral blush and shimmering highlighting and illuminating effect it delivers. Their Meteorites Perles de Nuit ($400), multi-coloured pearls swirled about inside a luxurious teal metal tin, will also give you a just peachy glow.
P.S. We already reviewed some of MAC’s Glitter & Ice Christmas Collection here… but I just had to mention their dazzling Mineralize Eyeshadows (above in Shimmer Mint $205), despite the fact they essentially bankrupted me this December! These for me, are basically Christmas in an eye shadow – a melange of shimmers and glimmers, silvers and golds, all swirled into one stunning snowglobe of awesomeness! I bought the lot… for myself!